12 to 22: POV you Wake Up in the Future

About the Book:

12 to 22: POV You Wake Up in the Future! by [Jen Calonita]

Title: 12 to 22: POV You Wake Up in the Future
Author: Jen Calonita
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: August 16th 2022
Genre: Middle Grade

A smart and funny modern day 13 Going on 30 from New York Times bestselling author Jen Calonita! A tween girl finds out it is like to be 22 when she jumps in time with the help of a mysterious TikTok filter.

Turning 12 1/2 shouldn’t be the most exciting birthday in the world. It’s a half birthday after all. But Harper is thrilled because she is getting the biggest gift of all: her parent’s approval to finally get social media accounts. 
 
Except when she goes to post her first photo, there is a filter she has never heard of before. One that shows you what you will look like when you are older. Curious, Harper clicks on it…but ends up flash forwarding in time to when she is 22. 
 
She will quickly find that being in her twenties means the freedom she always wanted, money for the glow up she didn’t know she needed and working for her idol! But Harper soon discovers a lot more has changed than she expected—including the person she wants to be. Will Harper be able to use the filter to get the life of her dreams? Or will there be more glitches?

Book Review:

This was a super fun, light book! I have to admit there’s something about middle grade that is just so satisfying. And this book was simply perfection! It’s not super angsty, but it still has some of that fun middle school drama 😉

I was honestly a little worried when I saw that this was based off of 13 Going on 30. That romcom was a lot of fun, but I thought that there would be some inappropriate and unnecessary content for kids. Thankfully, this is a super clean read with only a sweet, barely mentioned kiss. Now, on to the actual story.

Harper was a relatable protagonist. She was trying to learn how to stand up for herself and be herself. I think a lot of girls will relate to her desire to be popular, and I think in some ways important. She wants to be grown up, but as she goes throughout the book, she realizes being 22 is not what she thought it would be. I think it’s an important lesson for kids to learn especially since Harper’s really into social media. I love the fact that Calonita doesn’t totally hate on social media or even try to make a huge life lesson about it. But throughout the book, Harper realizes that no one’s life is perfect even when it looks tlike it, and she gets to choose how she lives her teens.

This is a fast paced book, and a lot of stuff happens quickly. But Harper has her little sister, Reese to help her along the way. I liked Reese, and it was sweet to see her help Harper. She definitely had a strong personality, and her honesty helped Harper be better. I was happy with how Ava and Zach came back too! It was sweet to read a middle grade book more about sisterhood and friendship rather than boys. Zach played a small role in the story, but Harper’s crush on him wasn’t the biggest deal.

Celia was definitely a piece of work. I would have liked a redemption arc for her, but this is a short book. I loved Saya’s arc though. I think it’s cool to see the stereotypical sidekick have a heart and a brain 🙂 I loved this book! I would totally recommend it to any tweenage girls. It was exactly the light, fluffy read I needed!

Highlights:

No language 

Light romance (one sweet kiss)

No innuendos 

Conventional family values 

Importance of speaking up/learning how to communicate with authority 

Sweet female friendships

Excellent redemption arcs

Positive but practical spin on social media

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required. 

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Just be Cool, Jenna Sakai

About the Book:

Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by [Debbi Michiko Florence]

Title: Keep it Together, Keiko Carter
Author: Debbi Michiko Florence
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: August 3rd, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Novel

“Heartbreak is for suckers.” — Jenna Sakai

When Jenna gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what she learned from her parents’ messy divorce: Relationships are risky and only lead to disappointment. So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this semester — no boys, just books.

But keeping her cool isn’t always easy. Jenna’s chief competition for a big journalism scholarship is none other than Elliott. Her best friend Keiko always seems busy with her own boyfriend. And cute-but-incredibly-annoying Rin Watanabe keeps stealing her booth at the diner she’s been hiding at every day after school. Rin is every bit as stubborn and detached as Jenna. And the more Jenna gets to know him, the more intriguing a mystery he seems. Soon Jenna is starting to realize that being a loner is kind of, well, lonely. And letting people in might just be a risk worth taking.

Book Review:

This was an adorable coming of age, romance story! I’m a huge fan of this genre, and while I do think middle school is a little too young to be thinking of romance, I still enjoyed this book. And I loved how it wasn’t just about romance. Jenna had to learn some important life lessons too and reconnect with her family.

Jenna Sakai is over love. After a fresh breakup with her boyfriend, all she wants to do is win her newspaper competition and forget about ever opening her heart again. But when everything with her family, friends, and even a cute new boy starts falling apart will she be able to keep her heart closed off?

The first thing that drew me to these books were the Asian main characters. This is a companion novel to Keep it Together Keiko Carter. I loved that book! And I loved how it wasn’t about her being Asian. I think we need more books about Asians getting to do everyday, normal things because it shows that they can be the main characters. Jenna, Rin, and Keiko are all Asian-Americans with completely different personalities and I loved them all!

Honestly, while I understood Jenna, I had a hard time connecting with her. I loved her drive and passion, and I think so many girls will relate to her. But I was able to empathize and understand Keiko more. However, I still adored her as a main character. I loved her growth and how she apologized and admitted her faults. I think that showed real maturity and also teaches young girls that being a strong woman means having the strength to apologize.

Rin was so sweet! He fit Jenna in a lot of ways, and they were able to push each other without being too similar. They were similar enough that they understood the other person, but they also listened to one another. And I loved how Leigh gently pushed them together. Leigh and her diner were a fantastic addition to the story!

The family drama felt very real, and I’m sure a lot of kids will be able to relate. I’m glad the parents were given a redemption arc, and the author emphasized the importance of talking about your feelings. This was a sweet, cute story that gently teaches middle schoolers about the significance of not closing yourself off to other people and how to maintain relationships. I loved it! Definitely would recommend it to any middle schoolers or even older kids 🙂 It’s a clean read without any unnecessary mature topics added in.

A Nanny for the Rancher’s Twins

Welcome to the Blog + Review Blitz for A Nanny for the Rancher’s Twins by Heidi Main, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Nanny for the Rancher's Twins: An Uplifting Inspirational Romance by [Heidi Main]

Title: A Nanny for the Rancher’s Twins
Author: Heidi Main
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Returning to small-town Texas was her fresh start.

She never expected a ready-made family.

What could be better than running a rustic wedding venue? Event planner Laney Taylor has it all laid out…except for the serious renovations her inherited property needs. Rancher Ethan McCaw will help—but only if she’ll nanny his toddler twins. Laney’s all about planning weddings for others and shielding her own heart, but Ethan, Zoe and Tori might be just the ones to change her mind…

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


Book Review:

Ethan was a sweetheart! He had been through a lot, and he had a lot of trust issues. His ex wife had abandoned him, and he was just trying to cope. It was a bit frustrating at first because he opened his heart to Lacey and then closed it again. But I think that’s pretty realistic too because it’s hard to change your entire mindset in one day.

Lacey was going through a lot too. She had experienced a difficult childhood, and those wounds had stayed with her. It was sweet to watch her open up again to Ethan and the twins. I think while I understood where Lacey and Ethan came from I had a harder time connecting with them and getting into their characters.

I had similar troubles with the story. It was super sweet and a lot of fun. But I had a difficult time really getting into it.

However, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves a cowboy romance! It’s an adorable read with clean, lighthearted romance!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Main

Heidi Main writes sweet inspirational romance novels set in small towns. Though she lives in central North Carolina’s suburbs, she dreams of acreage and horseback riding, which is why her novels include wide-open ranches and horses. Before starting her writing career, Heidi worked with computers and taught Jazzercise. A perfect Saturday is lounging on the deck with her husband and watching the many birds in their backyard.

Connect with Heidi by visiting heidimain.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a print copy of A Nanny for the Rancher’s Twins.

(1) additional winner will receive a $10 gift card and a print copy of the book.

A Nanny for the Rancher's Twins JustRead GIveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 9, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 16, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Keep it Together, Keiko Carter

About the Book:

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by [Debbi Michiko Florence]

Title: Keep it Together, Keiko Carter
Author: Debbi Michiko Florence
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Novel

Fans of Wendy Mass and Lisa Greenwald are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sweet story about first crushes, friendship drama, and finding the courage to stand up for yourself.Seventh grade is supposed to be a game changer. And Keiko thinks she’s got it covered, especially with Audrey and Jenna by her side to shop for a new look, pick out a prime lunch spot, and even hit up that cute new bubble tea place after school. Her trio is ready to tackle life as they always have… together.But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, it looks like things may be changing in all the wrong ways. Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey’s demands, and soon Keiko’s besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. While she’s been dreaming about triple-dates, first kisses, and a boy she really shouldn’t have a crush on, the friendship she’s always thought was rock-solid is beginning to crumble.Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends — even if it means losing one of them — or follow her heart? When it comes to flirting, friendships, and fallouts, how is Keiko supposed to keep it all together?

Book Review:

I’m so happy I found this little gem of a book! It is so adorable, and fluffy enough to be low stress but thoughtful enough to have a couple of good lessons tucked in it. I think middle grade fiction is often too mature, but I loved how this one gently touched on some old, racist movies without making the book all about racism. There is an instant where some discriminatory and racist language is being used against Keiko though. 

Keiko is such a relatable character. She wants everyone to just get along, and she doesn’t see how hiding her feelings doesn’t help anyone. I loved seeing her find the strength to actually tell people how she feels. It was sweet to see how Connor helped her to relax a little.

I loved Connor! He was such a sweetheart, and I loved how he was able to admit his faults. I think he was such a contrast to Aubrey, and I was really happy that the author showed that he and Keiko were friends first. His friends added so much fun to the story too, and it showed how people are not always what they seem.

This was such a realistic, sweet book! The character development was great, and I loved the lessons about friendships, how some friendships have to end. I would recommend this book to any middle schoolers, but I think it’s also fun for older kids!

Jasmine Toguchi Brave Explorer

About the Book:

Jasmine Toguchi, Brave Explorer by [Debbi Michiko Florence, Elizabet Vukovic]

Title: Jasmine Toguchi Brave Explorer
Series: Jasmine Toguchi
Author: Debbi Michiko Florence
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: October 18th, 2022
Genre: Children’s Fiction

With more than 130,000 copies sold, this award-winning chapter-book series starring a spunky Japanese American heroine returns with four new standalone books set on a family vacation in Japan!

Toothbrush? Check. Her special journal? Check! Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi—flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch messmaker—can hardly wait for her family vacation to Japan, and by the time their plane finally touches down, she’s ready to dive into their new adventure. There are so many things to see in Tokyo: Ramen Street, which she learns is not a whole street made of ramen; old temples with fancy gates; and Tokyo Tower, where you can even spot Mount Fuji on a good day.
But when they arrive, Jasmine finds herself unable to get away from her older sister Sophie’s crabby attitude. Plus there’s so much about Japan she didn’t know, and she seems to be getting in trouble right and left. Will Jasmine be able to cheer up her sister AND find her footing in a new country?
With her trademark humor and warmth, Debbi Michiko Florence weaves family drama and a fun introduction of Japanese culture into this delightful next chapter in Jasmine’s world.

Book Review:

This was such a cute, elementary grade book. Jasmine is a super, likeable character that I think a lot of kids are going to be able to relate to. It’s also a quick, simple read written in a way that they can easily understand. 

Jasmine is super excited to go to Japan, but she’s frustrated because her big sister is constantly being grumpy. She wants her sister and her to be friends again. As she continues her travels, she and her sister slowly start to bond as she learns more and more about Japan and its culture.

I think one of my favorite things about this book is how it celebrates Japanese culture in a very authentic way. I think a lot of Japanese kids will appreciate being able to see themselves on the page. Also, even if they’re not Japanese, it’s a really good opportunity for kids to learn a little more about Japan. The author even included some easy Japanese words that are woven throughout the story in a genuine way.

I’m sure they will understand the struggle Jasmine faces with her know-it-all big sister. She learns to appreciate her sister a little bit more. But it’s done in a very realistic way because there are still sisters who are going to fight and disagree. It wasn’t mushy or too adulty.

I would definitely recommend this book to any elementary grade kids. I think they’re really going to love it!

Highlights:

  • No language 
  • No innuendos 
  • Conventional family values 
  • Sweet sister relationship
  • Learning to not push others if they don’t want to do something
  • Easy to read writing style
  • Diversity!
  • Kids will learn about Japan

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

The Christmas Switch Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Christmas Switch by Zoey Marie Jackson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Christmas Switch: An Uplifting Inspirational Romance by [Zoey Marie Jackson]

Title: The Christmas Switch
Author: Zoey Marie Jackson
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Release Date: October 25th, 2022
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance

Keeping this secret gets complicated

with the family she wished for right next door.

Swapping places with her identical twin over the holidays sounds easy enough to Chanel Houston. But playing the role is trickier than expected when it comes to maintaining frosty relations with her sister’s neighbor and nemesis—especially since he has an adorable little girl and a rowdy puppy. Ryder Frost’s supposed to be grumpy and rude…so why does Chanel find the single dad so irresistible?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


Guest Post

Book ideas for myself and probably for many others come as a result of a ‘what if-then
situation that we think about and could be a result of blending things that we love or
have experienced. In this case, it was a blend of concepts and things that I like to craft
the idea for The Christmas Switch.

Being a twin myself, I absolutely love reading about twins, and I have always tried to
incorporate twins in my stories. For my first book for Love Inspired, I wrote about a set
of five-year-old matchmaking twins. I knew I wanted to do the same again but I wanted
to add a little intrigue, put a twist on it. That’s when the idea came to have these twins
switch places. This is understandable in the younger years so I had to think on the
concept of what would cause adult twins to switch places.

Fortunately, I was working with a great editor for the line who helped me formulate the
reason for the switch. Adult twins might switch places if one was in danger. Next, a book
trope that is almost always a guaranteed read for me is the neighbor-next-door. So, I
put the hero next door. To further add to the fun, one of the most enjoyable tropes for
readers is the enemies-to-lovers.

That’s when the light bulb went off and the concept materialized. What if I had twins
who switched places and that twin falls in love with the neighbor next door whom her
sister dislikes. The editor loved that idea so I began working on the characters and
crafting their story. Because of the timeline of when the book would be written and
delivered, I was asked if I could make it a Christmas story. If you blend all these, you
have The Christmas Switch.

Finally, while writing this, I was and still am going through a tough personal experience.
God ministered to me while writing and I then shared that through my story. I hope it
entertains and blesses at the same time!


Book Review:

I am a sucker for Christmas romances! And right now the weather’s getting a little colder, so I can start to dream of Christmas. And this was just an adorable book with all the Christmas magic.

Chanel’s life just got a lot more complicated. When her twin sister begs her to switch places, she agrees even though her hometown is filled with too many painful memories. But what happens when her sister’s annoying neighbor turns out to be a single dad with an adorable little girl? Chanel’s heart is getting attached with Ryder and his daughter Gabby even though their whole foundation is a lie.

Okay, I realized that this synopsis sounds super dramatic, but this book was actually pretty low stress. And Chanel is switching with her sister, Cara, because Cara is involved in an FBI investigation. Can I just say that explanation made me sigh in relief! I feel like lying in a relationship is a very bad move, so I loved that Chanel actually had a reasonable explanation. It made me love this story a little bit more!

Chanel was going through a lot, and she had a ton of past trauma she needed to work through. It was sweet to watch her with Ryder and Gabby, and they both helped her work through her painful past. I loved how she was with Gabby. And it was refreshing to have a more gentle female protagonist. I think a lot of female protagonists now are sassy, quick witted warrior queens, and I love those characters. But it’s refreshing to have a different kind of heroine.

Ryder was a sweetheart. Honestly, it was so cute to watch him with Gabby, and he was trying so hard to be a good dad. He also had a lot of past pain to work through, and it was cool to see him and Chanel help each other. They were both a little broken, and they helped bind each other up.

This was low stress, sweet read. I sometimes had a hard time really getting into it, but it was still really cute! The ending was a bit fast paced which was surprising because the romance was definitely a slow burn. However, I think the slow burn romance really worked for these characters because they were both more cautious in nature.

I would totally recommend this clean, Christian read to anyone who loves a Christmas romance!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zoey Marie Jackson

Zoey Marie Jackson loves writing sweet romances. She is almost never without a book and reads across genres. Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, she has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY at Stony Brook, Teachers College Columbia University and Argosy University and has been an educator for over 20 years. Zoey loves interacting with her readers.

Connect with Zoey by visiting zoeymariejackson.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

The Christmas Switch JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight October 25, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 1, 2022. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

Forget Me Twice

About the Book:

Forget Me Twice: A Romantic Comedy by [Carina Taylor]

Title: Forget Me Twice
Author: Carina Taylor
Release Date: November 10th, 2022
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Have you ever brought your ex-husband home and pretended to still be married?

Yeah, me either.When my local hospital calls to say “I’m sorry to tell you this, but your husband has been in an accident” I try to explain the basics to them.

  1. I am not married—anymore. (Archie Dunmore is a thing of the past.)
  2. If there’s a husband in the hospital, it’s not mine.

Except Archie is back, and he’s been in an accident. One that has left him with amnesia. Yup. He believes we’re still happily married. Oh joy.

Too bad for me, the doctor believes it would be best for Archie to remember things on his own. He needs familiar surroundings to heal.

No big shocks.
No emotional trauma.

Which means I can’t tell him the truth.

Archie bursts back into my life with all the warmth and joy of a freshly married man, confident that I’m the love of his life, and determined to fix the rift between us.
Except how do I tell him that he walked out on me?
Especially when Archie is desperately trying to remember what I’ve worked so hard to forget.

What’s a girl to do with an amnesiac ex-husband at her breakfast table?

Content TW: Adult conversations discussing substance abuse and assault.

Book Review:

I loved this book! I have read all of Carina Taylor’s books, and I have enjoyed all of them. But I think this one might just be my favorite. It was sooo funny, and there were several times when I was giggling to myself as I read:)

I really liked Meyer. It was interesting because in some ways she really couldn’t handle confrontation. However, at the same time, she was constantly bantering with Archie. I loved that though, it was so cute! I felt like I understood Meyer, and her inner voice was hilarious. She was trying not to freak out while simultaneously freaking out.

Archie was a sweetheart! I actually really liked him. Honestly, I was a bit worried that he would be a jerk, but he was incredibly sweet and kind with Meyer. I think they both had issues to work through because he was all out there with his thoughts and feelings while she kept things inside. It was fun to watch them connect and figure each other out.

The pace of this was awesome! I couldn’t put it down, and I was so intrigued to see what would happen next. It didn’t feel stressful though which was really nice. It was a fun, clean read that I would recommend to any romcom lovers!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.

The Worst Villain Ever

About the Book:

The Worst Villain Ever by [Amy Bearce]

Title: The Worst Villain Ever
Author: Amy Bearce
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publications
Release Date: October 18th, 2022
Genre: Children’s Fiction

A good villain is the worst.

When eleven-year-old George Pruwell is finally admitted to the Academy of Villainy and Wrongdoing, he has big plans of making his family proud, especially his older brother Alex. Unfortunately, unlike his brother, George is anything but villainous. To secure a slot in the school’s best class roster and prove himself worthy of his family’s wonderfully wicked name, he takes on a nearly impossible assignment: defeat Captain Perfectus, the world’s greatest superhero.

Now, George has to figure out how one too-nice-villain-in-training can defeat the most impressive superhero of all time. Alex offers his help, but George isn’t so sure he wants to use his big brother’s methods. And when Captain Perfectus turns out to have some seriously big problems of his own, George must choose whether to follow his instincts and help the superhero or crush him and become the most villainous Pruwell ever.

Book Review:

This was a fun, quick read! Most of the MG fiction I read is more geared towards girls, so it was fun to read a book with a boy main character. 

George is a total softie who wants to be a villain because it has been in his family for generations. So he’s ecstatic when he gets admitted to the Academy of Villainy and Wrongdoing. But in order to get into the best class roster, he has to defeat the best superhero of all time, Captain Perfectus. But what happens when Captain Perfectus turns out to be different than he seems? Will George trust his instincts or become a villain worthy of the Pruwell name?

This is a silly, quirky read. The villains are not scary and are actually quite comedic. Everything is quite over the top, and I loved learning about this different world. I think Bearce did a great job crafting a hilarious universe in this book.

I loved George! He is such a nice kid which is not good for a supervillain. I loved watching him find himself and figure out who he wanted to be. I think Bearce did this in a very entertaining way, so it wasn’t too introspective for younger readers.

I would recommend this book to younger middle schoolers or anyone looking for a light read. I had a harder time getting into it, but I think that’s partly because it’s not my usual genre. So I think middle schoolers will love it! We all need a book that makes us laugh and reminds us to be kind.

Highlights:

  • Funny
  • Appropriate humor
  • No cursing, innuedos, romance
  •  No scary fight scenes or any scary content
  • Conventional family values
  • No romance – importance of friendship
  • Reminder that no one’s perfect
  • Importance of being kind

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

Roll for Initiative

About the Book:

Roll for Initiative by [Jaime Formato]

Title: Roll for Initiative
Author: Jaime Formato
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Genre: Children’s Fiction

Perfect for fans of Dungeons & Dragons, Raina Telgemeier, and Jessica Kim, a heartfelt coming-of-age middle grade novel about finding your voice and believing in your best geeky self.Riley Henderson has never taken a bus to school in her entire life. Or made an afterschool snack, or finished her homework on her own, or—ewww—done her own laundry. That’s what her older brother Devin was for.

But now Devin’s gone. He’s off in California attending a fancy college gaming program while Riley is stuck alone in Florida with her mom. That is, until a cool nerd named Lucy gives Riley no choice but to get over her shyness and fear of rejection and become friends. The best part is . . . both girls are into Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, playing D&D was something Riley and Devin used to do together, with Devin as the dungeon master, guiding Riley through his intricately planned campaigns. So, of course, Riley is more than a little nervous when Lucy suggests that she run a campaign for them. For the chance at a friend, though, she’s willing to give it a shot. Soon, their party grows and with the help of her new D&D friends, Riley discovers that not only can she function without Devin, she kind of likes it. She figures out that bus thing, totes the clothes down to the laundry room and sets up her D&D campaigns right there on the slightly suspect folding table, makes her own snacks and dinner— the whole deal. But when Devin runs into trouble with his program and returns home, it’s pretty clear, even to Riley, that since he can’t navigate his own life, he’s going to live Riley’s for her. Now she has to help Devin go back to college and prove to her mom that she can take care of herself . . . all before the upcoming Winter-Con.

Book Review:

I loved this book! It is the perfect middle school book for gamers and non gamers alike. And I love the female representation in comics and video games.

I really related to Riley, and I think a lot of girls are going to. She’s shy and feels helpless. I loved watching her grow into herself and also figure out who she was without Devin. Personally, while I liked her journey of self growth, I don’t think she should have helped Devin in the way she did. I think since the book focused on how Devin didn’t really respect Riley’s boundaries, Riley should have respected his. But I get her frustration with Devin. The kid definitely needed a push. I’m just not sure if she should have done it the way she did.

I adored Devin! I think he was such a sweet kid who really didn’t want to end up like his dad. He was overzealous and didn’t always make the right decisions, but his heart was in the right place. His story was a good lesson about learning how to fail and get back up again too.

I loved all the different female characters in this book too! You have the single, struggling mom, the shy one, the one hiding behind their smile, and the super smart one. I think all of these amazing female characters were different and unique. They didn’t feel like stereotypes either.

I would definitely recommend this fun, kids book! It’s a clean read with no innuendos or language. And also no romance! I love romance, but I do think middle school is a little young to be thinking about boys.

Highlights:

Amazing, unique female characters

Conventional family values

Learning how to be independent

The importance of different strengths

Learning how to fail

Healthy, female friendships!

Strong, caring men: dads, uncles, and brothers

Found family

Focused on friendship not romance

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.